Specs and history of my 66 El Camino

The 66 is my tow car. It works very well. It can maintain 65 MPH and get 15.8 MPG while towing.

My 1966 El Camino was first sold in 1965, which was a very good thing for me, since it wasn't required to have a smog inspection (I live in California). Of course, the law as changed recently so 73 and earlier are now exempted. This EC is a daily driver seeing about 20,000 miles a year. My father bought it in 1978 and used it for a while before my brother took it over (he installed a 350 engine and TH 350 trans, too bad he didn't keep the original 327). After my brother died it sat for some 5 years and I got it in Sept. 1990. The first thing I did was replace the leaking Q-jet with an Edelbrock 600 cfm carb. I also replaced the iron manifold with a Performer unit. While I didn't notice a power increase, the engine was more responsive and reliable.


  • 355 SBC built and installed in Nov. 96.
  • Flat top Silv-o-lite cast pistons - balanced assy.
  • World Products SR Torquer heads w/2.02/1.60 valves, 76cc, .510" springs
  • .018" steel shim head gaskets giving 8.9:1 compression and .063" quench
  • Melling MTC-1 cam (SAE dur 278/288,  .050" dur 204/214,---.422/.444 lift w/1.5 rockers)
  • 1.6:1 CompCam roller tip rockers (increases lift to .450/.474)
  • Edelbrock Performer intake w/Performer 1405 600 cfm carb (setup by Dave Lang @ Fuel Curve West)
  • Re-curved HEI (16 deg initial, 32 deg total, 10 deg vac advance) (by Dave Lang @ Fuel Curve West)
  • Taylor wires
  • Iron exhaust manifolds (I have shorty headers, if I ever get them installed)
  • Original Harrison radiator (re-cored)
  • 180 degree stat
  • K&N 4" X 14" air cleaner
  • Moroso air cleaner housing (open)
  • Cast aluminum valve covers

  • Chassis:

    The canopy is a vintage aluminum job.




    I have made several long trips with the car and feel it is an excellent combination for use as a daily driver. 60 mph is just under 2000 rpm, overdrive lockup. She never gets over 190 degrees. Some say Edelbrock carbs are junk but I've had excellent results with this carb for over 12 years. I know the heads will flow much more but the engine runs so well I hate to mess with it. This cam makes a lot of torque and idles very smooth, something you appreciate in a daily driver.

    Plans for the future:

    The biggest performance boost came when I changed from the stock 1 7/8" duals with stock type mufflers to the 2 1/4" duals with "H" pipe and Dynomax mufflers. The difference was night and day.

    After the engine in my 67 let go, I ran this car at the Pomona Street Legal Drags. I was pleasently surprised. The 1st pass was a 15.5 something but I missed a shift and didn't have full throttle. The 2nd pass was better, ran a 15.05 but again I didn't have full throttle until around the 1000 foot mark. The combination of heavy dual throttle return springs and thick carpet fooled me. At 2/3 track, the car next to me was starting to pass me so I pressed harder and. wow!, I had a lot more power. I wish I had got another pass but there were just too many cars there for a 3rd round. My best guess, with full throttle is a 14.85 to a 14.95, probably better since my speed was 95mph, which should put me in the low 14s-high 13s. This was without any preparation except what was needed to pass tech. The engine can idle at 350 rpm in gear.